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Community Works

Vassar College

Prior to selecting recipients each year, the Community Works Committee encourages College employees and students to nominate worthy agencies located in the Hudson Valley.

2024 Recipients

ANGELS OF LIGHT assists children and families with a life threatening illness, or whose life has been suddenly altered by an accident or loss of life, living or receiving treatment in the Hudson Valley. Every family can fall on hard times, but it is especially difficult for families fighting for a loved one’s life. They help children and families all year-round with medical bills, utilities, food, gas, and much more. 

BARDAVON FIELD TRIP FUND underwrites ticket costs for children who would not otherwise be able to come to Bardavon performances. This fund offers Hudson Valley kids the opportunity to experience beautiful and engaging performances that will stay with them for a lifetime. With regular cuts in public school budgets for arts education and field-trips, the need for reduced-price tickets and transportation subsidies has only grown stronger. 

BRIELLE GRACE BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION is a small local charity that serves those diagnosed with breast cancer by providing financial support for medical bills. They also fund mammograms for early breast cancer detection and donate to New York research facilities. The Foundation provides services to local recipients through fundraising events, donations, and grants. The Foundation’s mission is to save lives and was founded by Dawn Fortis, a two-time cancer survivor. She has a vision to save one life at a time and to help create a breast cancer free world.

COMMUNITY MATTERS 2 has a mission to initiate communal growth by organizing events and establishing programs with local organizations for residents and youth with common goals that spark community engagement. Started in 2018, CM2 believes in order for a community to thrive, people must work together and be the change or improvement they are asking for.  Community Matters 2 has connected local Poughkeepsie organizations through food drives, park clean ups, and open gyms and clinics, as well as through community celebrations of local businesses and community groups.

CULTURE CONNECT helps empower the youth and families of our communities to create a future of social justice, global engagement, and cultural competence. They are a community based, volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization based in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. Culture Connect offers programs for students in grades K-12. This organization supports the families of students in whose homes English is not the primary language, helps high schoolers become first-generation college students, offers unique art experiences, and engages students in immersive multi-cultural experiences.

DUTCHESS COUNTY PRIDE CENTER is a safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ community in Dutchess County including LGBTQ+ youth, young adults, and their families and allies to feel comfortable and free to express themselves. Their goal is to support, educate, and advocate through outreach, support groups, and social events.

FEARLESS (Formerly Safe Homes) works to build an informed, just, and accountable society so all people can experience supportive and safe relationships free from abuse, exploitation, and oppression. They do this through education, prevention, advocacy, and providing comprehensive services, including shelter, to victims and survivors of interpersonal violence, human trafficking, sexual violence, and other types of crime victimization.

HUDSON VALLEY HOSPICE FOUNDATION works to raise community awareness and funding in support of Hudson Valley Hospice’s services, programs, and mission to provide care, comfort, and compassion to the men, women, and children of Dutchess and Ulster Counties who are facing life limiting illnesses of themselves or of a loved one. It is only with the support of our generous community that they can continue to provide the vital and special kind of care that is Hudson Valley Hospice.

MID-HUDSON ANIMAL AID is a no kill cat sanctuary dedicated to providing a safe haven for abandoned and abused felines in the Hudson Valley and beyond. Our residents are given humane and compassionate care in a free range environment while awaiting their forever homes. MHAA is committed to educating and informing the public about responsible pet ownership, placing animals in good adoptive homes, and encouraging spaying and neutering in our community to curb animal overpopulation and suffering.

STILL WATERS IN A STORM is a reading and writing sanctuary for immigrant families in Poughkeepsie, New York. It is a visionary laboratory of educational and artistic creativity and service to community. Students between the ages of seven to fifteen, most of them the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants, in some cases undocumented, attend after school to read, translate, and discuss literary classics. 

ULSTER IMMIGRANT DEFENSE NETWORK provides help with household needs including food, clothing, furniture, school supplies, and emergency financial aid; rent and utilities assistance; information and referrals for legal support, healthcare, social services, time-sensitive problems; response to ICE actions; support schools, students, and families with education information and advocacy; and case management for time-sensitive problems that fall outside the work of other teams.